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Jakarta Post

Malaysia detects new COVID-19 cluster among students returning from East Java

  • Ashley Tang

    The Star/ANN

Kuala Lumpur   /   Mon, April 20, 2020   /   01:09 pm
Malaysia detects new COVID-19 cluster among students returning from East Java A health worker of the Malang Health Agency in East Java takes a blood sample of a local resident during COVID-19 rapid testing at Lawang Market in Malang, East Java, on Thursday. During the testing, health workers took the blood samples of traders, public transportation drivers and market visitors. (JP/Aman Rochman)

A new COVID-19 cluster has emerged from students returning to Malaysia from Indonesia on April 16, says the Health Ministry.

Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said the cluster consisted of 43 students who had returned from Temboro, which has been declared a red zone in Magetan, Indonesia.

"From that overall number, 34 students have been quarantined in Melaka and nine in Kuala Lumpur.

"This shows that the government's actions to take steps to quarantine and screen all Malaysians who are returning from overseas is right. "This will ensure that all imported cases will not infect Malaysians locally," he said during his daily press briefing on Sunday.

Separately, Noor Hisham also said that the Health Ministry would soon be starting to conduct clinical trials on the effectiveness and safety of the Remdesivir drug to treat Covid-19 patients.

Noor Hisham said patients who are positive but do not show any symptoms would probably not be chosen for the clinical trial.

"We will look at those who are showing symptoms. We will look at the patients in the third category who have inflammation but don't require oxygen, category four patients that have inflammation in the lungs and require oxygen, and those in category five, who come to the hospital in the late stages and require ventilator support," he said.

He said nine ministry hospitals which are taking part in the World Health Organization (WHO) "Solidarity Trial" are ready to start recruiting research participants from among the Covid-19 patients who fulfill set criterias.

Noor Hisham said the evaluation was based on three key aspects; safety, quality and early efficacy of the drug based on available data.

On April 6, the Health Ministry announced that Malaysia was selected to participate in WHO's global "Solidarity Trial" to test several drugs to treat Covid-19.

Noor Hisham said due to the importance of the clinical trial in the fight against COVID-19, the Medical Research and Ethics Committee (MREC) and National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency approved the research protocol and clinical trial import licence for the Remdesivir drug in four working days.

This article appeared on The Star newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post